Doherty's rehab stay a PR coup

Last updated 05:00 30/06/2012
Pete Doherty
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ROCK BOTTOM: Pete Doherty at the premiere of his movie Confessions of a Child of the Century.

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Once upon a time stars grappling with drug addiction were sent to a "facility" to recover from "exhaustion"; now rehab centres welcome and publicise a celebrity check-in.

Earlier this week former Libertines lead singer Pete Doherty cancelled a number of summer festival appearances in the UK via a note on his website, informing fans he was retreating to Thailand's Cabin Chiang Mai rehab centre to kick his heroin and crack cocaine habits once and for all.

The same letter was also delivered to journalists via a press release, which further outlined the therapeutic treatments the problem plagued star will undertake.

Doherty's admission is both a coup and a challenge for the treatment centre, which has been operating since 2009 and claims its addiction recovery rate is amongst the highest in the world.

Could yoga, elephant trekking and workshops in mindfulness and mind mapping clean up the most notorious drug abuser of recent times?

Doherty, who was once engaged to Kate Moss and was a close friend of Amy Winehouse, has struggled with alcohol and drug problems that have seen him paraded through courtrooms, splashed across the tabloids and locked in prison cells since 2004.

The Cabin's aftercare provider Cameron Brown said the facility's 28-day, $12,000 program will be honing in on Doherty.

"We don't allow time to rest and recover as such. He'll be in treatment from day one and doing psychotherapy groups in the mornings, one-on-one counselling as well as holistic therapy like meditation, relaxation and massage, all the things that make it a whole treatment rather than just simply focusing on drug addiction," Brown said.  

He believes the clinic's Cognitive Behaviour Therapy approach, which deals with "what's going on here and now" and alleviating symptoms rather than the "12 Steps in 28 days" approach of regular treatment centres, will be successful for the seasoned substance abuser.

Doherty's time at The Cabin will be his second attempt at rehab. He spent six weeks at Clouds House in the UK in 2007. He relapsed two months after leaving.

"I think he's probably seen enough of the clinical environment of most western centres and wants to experience life in full colour again," Brown added.  

Doherty's made no secret of his reliance on a cocktail of illegal substances. He recently confessed he shot up on the set of his debut film Confession of a Child of the Century because he couldn't "function" without it.

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In the film, which at times imitated his life, he played a rambling philosophical dandy alongside models-slash-singers-slash-actresses Lily Cole and Charlotte Gainsbourg.

It premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May and received scathing reviews.  

His manager Andy Boyd, who escorted the musician to Southeast Asia, will be hoping Doherty's quest to "recover once and for all" is a positive and mutually beneficial PR exercise for the patient and facility.

-Sydney Morning Herald


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